London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Page <-Team Sat 19 Nov 2011 Dundee United 1 Hearts 0 Team-> Page->
<-Srce <-Type Guardian ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Paulo Sergio <-auth Ewan Murray auth-> William Collum
[S Robertson 24]
12 of 030 -----L SPL A

Hearts keep the first team waiting for their wages

• Vladimir Romanov reiterates wish to sell up
• Club forced to plan major sale in January

Ewan Murray, Thursday 17 November 2011 19.24 GMT

Vladimir Romanov has reaffirmed his intention to sell Hearts, with the club's first-team squad still awaiting overdue monthly salaries. The Lithuania-based businessman, who bought an interest in the Tynecastle club in 2004, has recently been increasingly vocal about his disillusionment with things within the Scottish game. Romanov's failure to open a branch of his bank, Ukio, in Edinburgh has also proved a frustration.

Romanov's Ukio Bankas Investment Group (Ubig) controls the Lithuanian side FBK Kaunas and Partizan Minsk in Belarus, as well as Hearts. Romanov said: "I want to leave football. I have given the order to find buyers for all my clubs. I want to buy a theatre and sell the clubs."

The vast majority of Hearts' November payroll for the players, due on Wednesday, remains unpaid. Last month the squad had to wait 19 days before receiving their salaries. Hearts saidon Thursday that 33 of them have been paid. Those are youth-team members, however, who were paid on time. There is no indication when the more senior and high-earning players will receive their salaries.

Fears for Hearts' immediate future are offset by Romanov's willingness to meet payments to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. A £1.1m debt was cleared this week, while another £250,000 liability to Hearts was met after court proceedings were instigated this season.

Hearts sources admit they will look to offload players where possible during the January transfer window. At the end of the season 12 first-teamers are out of contract. Romanov's ability to sell the Edinburgh club is, though, almost certainly dependent on Ubig being willing to forgive some of Hearts' debt of around £30m.

Paulo Sergio has collected a five-match touchline ban after being found guilty of misconduct by the Scottish FA. The Hearts manager was sent to the stand after arguing with the referee during Kilmarnock's 1-0 win last month. His suspension will start at Dundee United on Saturday.

Taken from the Guardian/Observer

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